Taken together, it is not surprising that older teens are both more likely to sext and have sexual intercourse.
The most consistent predictor of consensual teen sexting is actually whether or not they want to flirt, be romantically involved with another teen, or maintain intimacy with their partner.
Although likely not a warranted expectation, the idea that “my friends are doing it, then maybe I should do it” could be a strong peer motivator. These and many other questions are simply not at the forefront of the teenage mind—nor, arguably, are they always in an adult’s mind either, 53 per cent of whom engage in sexting themselves – especially when these thoughts are competing with sexual interest and intimacy.
A second problem that may arise is when teens are coerced into sexting or when they are “sextorted” (when images or videos are used as a form of threat or blackmail). Teenage brains are still developing; their capacity to critically analyze the digital tools and apps they are using may not be enough to keep them safe. Who, other than the intended recipient, has access to them? Parents can keep their teens aware and informed by having open discussions—about healthy dating relationships, peer pressure, digital security, sexuality and citizenship more broadly.
Taken together, several challenges can potentially arise.
First, many teens may feel as though sexting is an expectation.